Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yuck, but ok...

I am so not into Chili's Restaurants. I usually get terrible service and an overpriced stomachache for all of my troubles when I go there. I go there because when you are trying to get 6 or 7 people to decide on a place to eat, it is better to be the path of least resistance. I am going to Chili's later this week with some friends from my old job to have a beverage. We usually order chips and salsa and maybe a snack. I found a link to get free chips and queso by signing up for their email list. I will indulge them for an email or two if it means more enjoyment for the people I am going with. If you, too are interested in free chips and queso the website it... . Enjoy?!?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random question

I was thinking last night about getting things in order for Baby Trike and had a random question. I thought I would throw it on here to see who might know the answer. I am betting Margaret might know the answer (I would even take those odds to Vegas), but other mommies would know too! And I appreciate all of you!

For Baby #2 do you need to purchase new pacifiers (I am guessing yes)? What about new bottles? Or just the nipples? If you have to buy new nipples, do you need to buy the rubber things in the bottom of the bottle (for the vent-aire style bottle)? Anything else?

Thanks again ladies (and if there are any gentlemen out there).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cool website

This website was posted on a message board that I am a member of. I thought it was a really great website and I love looking through all the things she has made. I think I am going to force Matt to take off some days of work and build me some new furniture. The builder used to peruse through The Pottery Barn catalogue and thought to herself, "I could make that" and then she did. I love a lot of their stuff so it is no wonder that I love her website. I also love that she has the plans and pictures online.


Friday, September 24, 2010

11 months?!?!?


I cannot believe you are already 11 months, we have to start planning a birthday soon and it isn't just woo-hoo you are another month older either!!! This has been a great time to spend with you, you are learning so much and changing each day. The little baby we wondered so much about is really starting to show her personality.

First, you have become so willful in the past few weeks, you have a definite mind of your own. Usually that works well with the will of others because you are very easy to please, but if someone does do something you do not can shriek like a banshee when you don't get your way. If someone takes something away from you, you make it very well known that you are not happy about it. You are also very determined when it comes to proving that you can or cannot do something. You will crawl all over mommy when she is laying down next to you just to get to something out of reach. You crawl like a mad woman around the house and have begun cruising around the furniture. You will also pull up and stand on your own, but don't like it when we try to force you to stand or walk.

Second, you have just been funny the past month. Mommy has some very favorite moments with you this month because you are doing little kid things that make grown-ups laugh. You were carting your raisin box around the house as you were "exploring" the other day and in the process of shaking it you managed to get it open. I looked over at you to see you surrounded by raisins and you were furiously gathering them and stuffing them into your mouth as quickly as you could. You would see a raisin and reach for it and 10 raisins would fall out of your hand! Kiki was here to see that so she was laughing along with Mommy. Another favorite time was when Mommy accidentally got a little bit of yogurt on your nose during a meal and started laughing because it looked so funny, you began laughing as well, which made Mommy laugh more and the pattern repeated. You really like to ham it up!

Third, you are really in to playing these days. You love to cart around your puppies (which you will say "Puh, Puh" as you do so and you like to chase after some of the toy balls we have for you (which you will say "baw-luh"). You enjoy climbing around as much as you can and just general exploring. You love music and will bounce and rock to any type of music we have on. You like to look out the living room windows to look outside, Mommy is looking forward to the weather cooling off a bit so we can have fun outside. You love to look at books either with someone or on your own. You will pull all of the books off of your shelf and flip the pages. I don't know that you have an absolute favorite book, but you like any of the books with animals. You will say "ca" sometimes for cat, Ma-Ma and Da-da all the time, and wave hello and goodbye. You wave your hands frantically in the air to sign "all done" and will sometimes sign "milk". Yesterday while watching signing time you were working hard at mimicking some of their signs like "ball" and "dog".

Fourth, you have been sleeping amazingly (8:30 to 7:30 at night and two 1.5 to 2 hour naps) and you eat like a pig. For breakfast you eat yogurt with cereal in it, have milk before nap, wake up and eat an entire banana, will eat lots for lunch, have more milk before second nap, eat applesauce, raisins, and crackers through the afternoon to snack, and will eat a good dinner. Your lunch and dinner is usually whatever we are having. For example yesterday you had chicken, green beans, and tomatoes. There really isn't a food you won't eat, but you love veggies. I will often times give you frozen peas or green beans to snack on.

Lastly, as far as fun things we did this month... We went to the opening Aggie football game which was interesting. The tickets were standing room only so we ended up sitting on the lawn and watching the jumbo tron instead. We have hung out with family and friends a lot and you got to go visit Daddy at work. Mommy tries to take you somewhere every day (even if it means splitting up errands) so that you can get out of the house. You have moved up from the Bunny baby nursery class to the Puppy class at church so we were excited for you first official "advancement". When the weather cools off we will go for more walks, but until then we only go every once in awhile. Daddy had several days off earlier this month so it was nice to hang out with him!

We love you so much MacKenzie. As tired as I am growing your Baby Brother or Sister I love spending the day with you. While I enjoy my sleep in the morning there are times I am sad you aren't snuggled up next to me in bed. When you are a bit older maybe you will snuggle with me in the mornings!

All of our love, thank you for being a part of our lives,
Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chocolate Oreo Goodness

So I do not think I posted this recipe before...if I did, I apologize, blame it on baby brain...

This recipe is perfect for the upcoming holiday parties where you volunteer to bring a dessert or cookie to share with the group. This is way easier than baking cookies from scratch and it is almost as easy as the already made cookie dough. These Oreo Balls (there is no other word to use for them, they are balls) are soft, moist, and delicious in the middle and surrounded by a firm chocolate coating on the outside. They don't taste like oreos so you will have everyone guessing as to what your ingredients are...

One package of oreo type cookies (I have used the store brand and reduced fat before and they have been great)
One package of cream cheese (again, store brand, reduced fat is great)
One package of Chocolate Bark (it is in the baking aisle by the cocoa powder and chocolate chips)

In large food processor (I do this in two batches) process the oreos and cream cheese together. Make sure it is well blended. Put in fridge for at least one hour. After mixture is chilled take out and begin forming into little balls (I use my cookie scoop, a melon baller would work well too). Heat a few squares of chocolate bark at a time in the microwave (20 sec, stir, repeat until melted). Drop the oreo balls into the chocolate bark and make sure it is covered. Use forks or fingers to remove and place on wax paper. When chocolate coating is set, consume with pleasure!

If you would like to top with crushed candy canes, a bit of cocoa powder, or cinnamon, do so when the coating is not set (immediately after taking out of the coating). This way the bits will stay attached into the coating....

If you want a candle in one for a birthday, just press in before the coating is set.

I have thought about trying this with mint oreos around Christmas but haven't...yet. My sister-in-law has a similar recipe that involves making a red velvet box cake and breaking that up with a container of cream cheese frosting, then repeat the same method with the chocolate bark. The red velvet cake is pretty at Christmas.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Traditional Bread Pudding

Because fall is approaching and I was perusing food pictures that are waiting to be blogged, I decided to post the Luby's Bread Pudding recipe. I know what you are thinking...Luby's...yuck! I happen to love Luby's and treasure my eating there with my family dearly. There are definitely some items I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, but most of their items are quite good. I also like that I can go and eat the veggie plate (with either 3 or 4 veggies and a roll) and Matt can still get his carnivorous intake (by ordering the Luann with a meat, two veggies, and a roll).

The bread pudding recipe is good. I cannot vouch for the bread pudding in the actual restaurant. In fact, restaurant bread puddings in general should be avoided (except for Madden's blackberry pudding...which I might have the recipe for...I'm not at liberty to say). The recipe for this bread pudding is traditional and comes out slightly crunchy on top with perfect bread pudding softness under the top layer. The egg mixture, bread, raisins, and pecans mix well together. My Grandaddy loved this bread pudding so much that he would specifically go to restaurants, order it, taste it, then proceed to tell the waiter and manager that mine was better!

Here is their actual recipe, I will add my modifications at the bottom...

Luby’s Bread Pudding with Lemon Sauce
“A Most Requested Recipe”

6 T granulated sugar
2 T ground cinnamon

3 c milk
7 extra-large eggs
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla

6 oz. (6 to 8 slices) white bread,
torn into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 c raisins

3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
2 T cornstarch
1 T plus 1 1/2 t water
4 drops yellow food color

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. For cinnamon sugar, in small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.
3. For pudding, in large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until well blended.
4. Place bread in 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle raisins. Pour milk mixture over bread and raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 5. Cover with foil.
6. Bake 45 minutes.
7. Remove foil and continue baking 10 minutes.
8. For sauce, in small saucepan, combine sugar and lemon juice. Mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
9. In custard cup or small bowl, mix cornstarch, water, and food color until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add to saucepan,
stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Serve over pudding.

Serves 8.

We usually add more raisins (sprinkle them in until "it looks right") and add pecans (same amount as raisins). We also make extra cinnamon sugar and sprinkle a bit throughout the bread mixture. Lastly, we have never made the lemon sauce, instead we serve it warm with a healthy dose of heavy whipping cream poured on top. So enjoy this decidedly fall/winter dessert. It always makes an appearance at my Dad's for Christmas dinner with Prime Rib and other traditional Charles Dickens like fare...

Friday, September 17, 2010

What I would love to do

I was reading The Pioneer Woman and she was saying that one should blog and blog I opened up a new post and a topic immediately came to me. No pictures, but my thoughts anyways!

As I have been staying home I have been looking for something to supplement Matt's income. I would like something flexible and preferably stay at home, but if the right position came along that could be altered. In thinking and looking for something along these lines I have thought a lot about what I would love to be paid to do...

1. Take care of my family (obviously), but that is a given...and if Matt ends up getting a different job at some point in the future that is exactly what I will do...for a bit (as in a period of time, not a bit as in two bits the payment)!

2. Write curriculum, specifically for the Holocaust Museum, but general curriculum writing would be fun. I would love to just sit down and write out books worth of lesson plans that people could take from and modify as they wished.

3. Be a food critic. Best. Job. Ever. You get paid to go out to eat and then you get paid to write about it. People would choose to savor every detail with am speechless!

4. Be an advocate for Pregnant/New moms in the workplace (especially in schools). I found that so much about teaching (a predominately female work place) was not as friendly to pregnant and working moms as it could be. The simple fact that I had to lock myself in a small room to the side of the nurses office (and sometimes had to use their storage closet) so that I could pump was not ok with me. And while I was at it, I would fight to let Mommy's pay to have their children at the day-care that is already provided at some schools for the students kids.

5. Research. No specifics about that. I like collecting data, especially in the classroom, but data in general makes me happy. One of my happiest moments in life was making my data graph work correctly for my Master's program project.

6. I had this idea to start an online bulletin board for our church. Sort of a craigslist, but more localized. If someone needed to sell their couch, maybe someone in the church could buy it. In my vision it would also help people get more plugged in and thus more accountable. I also had the great idea of people "trading services"...for example...Man #1 could change Man #2's oil and in exchange Man #2 could fix Man #1's garbage disposal. We all have gifts that we could share.

7. Have babies. I have seriously considered being a surrogate mother. I know you already get paid for that, but I think it would be strange to carry for a stranger. For someone that I already knew...I would definitely consider it...and might not charge too much either!

8. Spread mulch. I really love spreading and lugging mulch from the front yard to the back yard. I love seeing a huge pile of...mulch and watching it slowly disappear into nothingness as the day goes on. There is little that is more satisfying than manual labor. This is not a child friendly job however. Nor is it a pregnant friendly job...

If anyone can find a way for me to get paid for any of these (except #8...I know how to get paid for that, but it doesn't work with our needs) then let me know.

In the meantime, I appreciate you all just for reading and letting me know you are out there!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random picture

I posted this on facebook, but thought I would try here too...

In the early hours of labor Matt and I were taking pictures here and there to document our time before MacKenzie came. This picture was taken around midnight on October 23 in the "triage" room of Labor and Delivery. As you can see I am in my gown already, I have been checked, and they are just getting my room ready...

The problem comes about in that I have no idea why we took this picture and no idea why I am showing "the deuce" in it. We have the exact same picture without "the deuce" and I remember there was a purpose for this picture and my intention was to take more like it...I told Matt to remember why, but he obviously didn't and the labor and delivery amnesia kicked in where I can barely remember a thing! Here is what I know for sure:

1) I was already past 2 cm dilated
2) My contractions were not 2 minutes apart (thanks Cheryl for that suggestion)
3) It was not 2 am or pm
4) It was not because there were 2 babies inside of me
5) I was not drugged up at this point (despite the glazed over look in my eyes)

So any more guesses on is really bothering me because I know there was a reason for this picture so any help would be much appreciated (even if it is just silly guesses!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baby Sign Language

We decided early on to do Baby Sign Language with our children. We weren't going to obsess about it, but we were hoping that they would pick up a few signs and be able to communicate better with us and others. We have been teaching MacKenzie a few signs here and there and she watches Signing Time once a day (this is the only t.v. she gets). I highly recommend Signing Time, MacKenzie loves it and she seems to genuinely be paying attention to the signs.


So that being said, we were ecstatic to see that MacKenzie picked up her first real sign last week "all done". She very clearly communicated this to us at lunch and dinner time (we apparently never provide enough food at breakfast even though the child eats cereal and an entire banana by herself). Today she has picked up another sign, the sign for milk. She signed it to me earlier today and I got her milk in her sippy cup and she was very pleased for herself. This evening after dinner I was sitting with her and visiting with Matt when she began to enthusiastically sign milk again and again. She then began attacking my chest area as she signed milk. She definitely understands that the chest area is where her evening milk comes from! I wasn't sure whether to be proud of her intelligence or scared of her aggressiveness!

In any case we are happy she is learning how to communicate with us. On the speaking front we have ma-ma and da-da down pat and are working on "puh" (puppy) and "ba" (ball).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11

I thought I would go ahead and post my memories of September 11 since I had no students to share it with this year...

I was a Freshman at Texas A & M. Waking up for my 8 a.m. classes had started getting more difficult, less because of my sleeping habits and more because of my annoying roomie who had a terrible habit of staying awake typing furiously on the computer until 4 in the morning. I woke up none the less and staggered to Heldenfels where my Business Math class was located. I managed to stay awake through class and when it was dismissed began making my way to Harrington for my next class. As I walked through what should have been a fairly populated courtyard I began to get an odd feeling I was missing out on something. I know now that the only students on campus at that point were fellow 8 a.m.-ers like me who woke up and got to class too early to hear about the first planes. I shook it off as just being one of those off days and sat down prepared to be fully enlightened by Dr. Reese in Western Civ class (I am still in contact with this brilliant man today). As I waited for class to start I heard a few students talking...did you hear? Why haven't they cancelled class? A plane hit... I thought to myself, oh...a plane crash...not common, but non entirely uncommon...I wonder where and if the passengers are ok...

We were dismissed from class and I walked outside to head back to my dorm in FHK. The stillness on campus was unsettling. I could literally count the number of students within my sight on one hand. At almost 11 this should not be the case. I hurried back to my dorm to see what had happened. Along the way I passed a girl I knew from high school. She vaguely told me that planes had crashed into some buildings in New York and D.C. and that nobody knew exactly what had happened. My immediate thoughts went to a man I had learned about in my elective Geography class in high school...Bin Laden. I know the news reports were hesitant at first to mention his name, but it soon became clear that this was the case.

As I got back to my room I was relieved to find it empty of my roommate who I definitely did not want to be a part of the outpouring of emotion I was bound to have. I turned on the t.v. and saw images worse than I could have ever imagined. I cannot recall now if the towers had fallen by that point or not, but the panic in the reporters voice (even as they tried their best to remain calm) was evident. I sat on the floor, watched the news reports, cried, and never felt so alone in my life. I called home to see if Houston was in a panic as a potential target, mom and dad said that many office buildings were closing early as a precaution. I asked if I should come home and was met with a most resounding and firm no. They both felt I was safer in College Station and that was their primary concern for me. Again, feeling alone...

I eventually began to wander around campus. My new job at Chick Fil A called and said not to bother coming in to do training because the mall was alone. My good friend Jenn was over at someones house and I couldn't get in contact with her so walking around seemed like a good option. Classes were voluntary that day so I made it to my afternoon Psych class where we just kind of talked about what was going on. The rumors had started settling in about needing to fill your cars up with gas so I debated giving up my precious parking spot to do that, but decided against it. I called my parents again that evening after watching more t.v. Nobody really knew what to say. I began trying to make tick marks for the number already declared dead, it was overwhelming. The people that died were just trying to live their daily life. Workers, tourists, bankers, teachers, students, business men, food service employees, custodians...all just doing what they did... Firefighters and policemen rushing into the building as others rushed out. Their number one goal was to rescue whomever they could from inside not knowing the building would fall on them moments later. Passengers who heard of what was occurring and knowing that they could take their destiny into their own hands and could at least prevent others from harm.

The memories begin to fade from there. Images on t.v. are still burned into my mind. An organization on campus put together Red, White, and Blue Out to help raise money for the Fallen Firefighters Fund. First deck wore blue, second wore white, third wore red. I had never been so proud to be part of the 12th man than to see us standing together in that way. From there, our lives continued on, but occasionally something makes me stop and remember.

My students today have few recollections of what happened. They remember some of their parents trying to pull them out of school for the day, but that is as pungent as the memory gets. In years to come, my generation will be asked what our memories are of the students, my daughter, my children will not be asked because their memory is absent.

The Cross Beam at the WTC site

It is so empty, even today

Red, White, and Blue Out...even a large number of the opponents fans participated

Friday, September 10, 2010

In case you are traveling

Here is an article about 10 of the must eat foods in different parts of the USA...I have always talked about making a foodie trek to do some of these things...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blackberry Cobbler

A quick little thumbs up for a store bought item...

Today we took a Blackberry cobbler over to a friends house to share with ice cream. We bought the HEB brand because it was considerably less and we had read that many stores offer a satisfaction guarantee on their items (so we wouldn't lose anything monetarily...just immediate enjoyment of cobbler). We popped in the oven according to the directions and let it sit after an hour of cooking until we were ready to partake. The cobbler was great! The crust was flavorful and crusty (how ironic, I know) with nice butter flavor, but without imitation butter feel. Their was also a top and bottom crust which for me is a definite deal breaker! The filling set up nicely and didn't get watery juice everywhere. There was a nice fruit to syrupy goodness ratio and the blackberries tasted fresh. So give it a try if you are looking for an easy dessert. It was only 2.96 and paired nicely with a 1.50 pint of Blue bell vanilla ice cream. You would be hard pressed to make a homemade cobbler for less than 3 bucks...

Friday, September 3, 2010

In celebration

So for our 120th post we knew we had to put something special (ok, not really, but we needed a good intro)...

Anyways, we would like to introduce...

Our newest...


This is Baby Triceratops (Trike) due March 7th-ish. That makes me 13.5 weeks and on my way into the second trimester. We couldn't be happier for MacKenzie to have a little playmate on the way.

In response to all of the questions we have been getting so far:

Feeling great, but way more nauseous than last time. Not as bad as some people, but still more so than with MacKenzie. Definitely feeling more food aversions and have been sick a few times.

Yes, it is possible to get pregnant while breast feeding. We are still nursing twice a day for now (with MacKenzie getting frozen pumped milk the rest of the day), but slowly reducing that as I have been contracting pretty hard while nursing her lately.

Yes, we do know what "causes" babies.

Yes, this one was planned (or as planned as you can get)...I guess a better phrase is "hoped for".

No, we are not finding out the gender until Matt can tell me in the delivery room and we will even be keeping our names hush hush until then as well.

I already have a bit of a baby pooch to show off, but am less enamored by the pooch this time as I have posted no weight gain yet and was very proud of that. I am still in regular clothes (which means I am doing "better" than last time), but despite my eating constantly I keep showing no actual gain. As long as the baby is healthy I suppose it is ok for now.

Again, we are super happy and are looking forward to this time around even more than last time...because we know for sure how amazing and indescribable the outcome is!